Biden aide appointed to Senate

Ted Kaufman, a longtime aide to Joe Biden, will replace his old boss in the Senate, but is he just keeping Beau Biden's seat warm?

Topics: U.S. Senate, War Room,

At a press conference on Monday, Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner announced her choice to succeed Joe Biden in the Senate: Ted Kaufman.

You’re not alone if you’re asking, “Ted who?” We’ll even admit that Salon’s list of potential successors didn’t include the soon-to-be senator as a possibility. But Kaufman is an old hand: He served as chief of staff in Biden’s Senate office, worked on his presidential campaign, his vice-presidential campaign and is now on the Obama-Biden transition team. He is, in other words, a Biden guy.

That Minner chose a loyalist of the V.P.-elect rather than a politician with more independent ambitions (like, say, outgoing Lt. Gov. John Carney) may be another indication that Biden hopes to keep his seat in the family. Most observers believe Kaufman will keep the seat warm for two years, and will not run in the 2010 special election. This would clear the way for a run by Joe Biden’s son Beau, the state attorney general. Beau Biden had been the heir apparent, but his recent deployment to Iraq stood in the way, at least for the moment.

Gabriel Winant is a graduate student in American history at Yale.

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